The adoption rate of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is accelerating at a pace that isn’t being matched by the growth in spending by European businesses and brands, reveals new data.
A study by Forrester Research, which polled over 17,000 consumers and 264 senior executives in Europe, revealed that 50% of marketers are using social media and an additional 25% said that they would in the coming 12 months. However, the majority of marketers still allocate a small budget to their social networking campaigns, and over a fifth didn’t even know what this was for 2011.
Only 5% of marketers said that their social media budgets would top $5m in 2011. 17% pegged their spending between $1-4.9m, and 14% between $500,000 to $1m.
36% said their budget totals were less than $249,000.
These numbers might seem high, but relative to normal advertising and PR budgets for major brands they are tiny. And the 22% who didn’t know what their social media budget was likely didn’t even have a budget, which means resources were taken from other departments or the work was simply done on the fly.
The report revealed that the biggest challenges for marketers were measuring the return on investment (ROI, 17% cited this) and uncertainty of success (16%, which essentially goes hand in hand with the ROI).
“Some brands say they have a success story but they can’t actually prove or connect social media to real measures of success such as brand awareness or sales increases,” said Nate Elliott, Forrester VP and author of the report.
Elliott believes that Twitter and Facebook should be working closer with businesses to improve measurement standards.
“The burden should be on Twitter and Facebook to provide that research but they don’t have to at the moment because marketers are happy with the incorrect metrics,” he said.